Newsletter 5: Man is part of the Unity
Dear friends and family,
The weather in Israel is going from warm to hot. Yesterday we basked in the sun on a boat on the Sea of Galillee in about 25 centigrade.
The boat was taking a group of tourists and myself from Ein Gev, where we had just eaten a delicious St. Peter's fish lunch, to Nof Ginossar where we joined our bus to drive to Nazareth.
It was already dark when we made our way back to Jerusalem. But not too late.
This night, for a change I'd be early in bed. The night before we'd walked through the tunnel under the Western Wall at midnight.
Somehow the darkness brought on an overwhelming feeling that the Temple, destroyed by the Romans 2000 years ago, was totally and really in existence at this moment.
I had always seen the Temple as a symbol of Jewish National Unity, but the night visit to the ruined Temple, followed by our journey through the Jordan Valley, past Sartaba, suddenly brought to me a clear realization that one of Judaism's purposes is to make man feel part of something greater than himself.
Sartaba is a high mountain where the bonfire used to be lit to indicate the beginning of a new month. Knowing the exact moment when a new month begins makes it possible to know the exact moment when a festival is to begin.
One of the characteristics of Judaism that has always fascinated me is the punctuality of celebrating festivals. For example the Sabbath begins at a specific moment. If you begin it one moment earlier or one moment later you have contravened the law.
Judaism definitely tries, through the observance of laws to imbibe man with the conciousness that he is part of two forms of unity: The unity of the universe and the unity of the Nation.
By beginning at an exact moment man is united with all other Jews beginning the Sabbath rest at that moment and he is united with God who began his rest at that moment.
We can rest any day but by resting on a particular day we are declaring that we are one with the nation and one with the universe.
Like most people I love my bed. I get up at 4 in the morning because my dog wakes me up, not because I want to get up. Getting up for me is never an individual thing. Some creature makes me do it.
This leads me to the conclusion that we are creature driven creatures. We motivate each other to do things.
You motivate me to write this letter because I learned that many of you don't get no news information about Israel.
For example only this no news bulletin will tell you that an Arab taxi driver bumped into my car last week.
Thank God only the car was damaged and is now standing at the panel beater in the Arab village of E Zaim getting repaired by the owner of the taxi company who assures me that the car will be as good as new. I'll know today.
There's an art exhibit at the Israel Museum devoted to the centenary of the founding of the Bezalel art school by Boris Schatz. I'll let you know about it in one of the forthcoming bulletins.
I also hope to be giving you a report on the opera Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini, which is being performed in Tel Aviv by the Israel Opera.
After visiting the Mahaneh Yehudah Market I can tell you that tomatoes are only 2 shekels a kilo, oranges 3, but cheese is still very expensive. That's the way it is in all the world, expecially Italian Parmezan cheese. So I'm pleased to inform you that there is a very good goat cheese which costs only 90 shekels a kilo and it's delicious especially with some olives and dry, red, wine.
Wishing you a great no news day